Now that 14 years have passed since the very first gig I ever did, I have a confession to make.
At the time, I was working hard at getting three sets of songs ready for the day I got the courage to play my first bar gig. But, as often happens in this mystical magical Universe, an opportunity got tossed in my lap before anyone realized that I was grossly unprepared to take it.
My friend David LaMotte had to cancel his weekend of gigs at the Town Pump Tavern. David called to offer me the weekend. As he spoke, I immediately needed to throw up.
“I’m not ready,” I told him.
“Sure you are,” he said.
I knew I had no choice. I had to plan for imperfect action rather than perfect my plans.
Which brings me to my confession.
On both Friday and Saturday night – even though I didn’t have three sets of songs ready – I played three sets of songs.
Did I take an Evelyn Wood speed-song-learning class and flub my way through American Pie and Margaritaville?
Did I stay up night and day that week practicing and practicing until I had the exact number of songs perfect and ready?
Did I set up a karaoke machine and sing Blue Bayou and I Write the Songs?
When the third set came around, I played the exact same songs as my first set.
This was a bold move for me. I thought the crowd would come at me with torches, shouting, “Burn her!”
But, as it turned out, everyone was so drunk by the third set, no one noticed. (And when it comes right down to it, no one was listening all that hard anyway!)
Then, you know what happened?
One guy – a Shakespeare troupe actor who was in town that weekend – put a hundred dollar bill in my tip jar that night and told me never to give up.
And the bar owner pulled out his calendar for the next year and offered me one full weekend a month for the whole year.
Guess no one got the memo that I wasn’t ready for my first gig.
Last weekend, I was at the Monetize Your Mission Event in Las Vegas – hosted by Kevin Nations, and one of my own coaches, Lisa Sasevich. The theme of the weekend was “Imperfect Action.” For some reason, it made me think of that weekend at the Town Pump Tavern. If I had said “no” to that opportunity, I might have waited forever til I got it perfect. Sitting at my kitchen table playing my songs to no one.
Hey, it happens.
One of my first guitar teachers, a brilliant Chamber music guitarist, wouldn’t let himself perform – at even the tiniest festivals and rooms – until he had a certain number of songs memorized perfectly. He was forever planning his first gig.
Don’t let this be you!
The trick to success, especially when you’re trying something new, is taking imperfect action. Here’s exactly three reasons why:
1 – Taking Imperfect Action, teaches you about abundance.
The people who get stuck in the “wait til it’s perfect” trap believe there’s one and only one chance to “make it.” Taking imperfect action says, “There’s always more chances!” And there are!
2 – When you take Imperfect Action, you’re discovering yourself, not waiting to be discovered.
So many people are waiting to be discovered, approved of, noted, validated – always by someone “more important” than they are. Taking imperfect action makes you discover yourself. Once you realize that being unstoppable is simply about taking the next step, then you have absolutely no need to be discovered. Any validation that comes is like icing on the cake.
3 – When you take imperfect action, you learn that there’s no such thing as failure.
If you do something imperfectly, and you “fail,” then the lesson is to try again imperfectly. See how liberating this is? If you like to tell people or yourself that you tried and failed, then it’s time to take imperfect action again!
So, let me ask you something.
What idea have you been putting off, waiting until you (and it) are perfect? What’s your next imperfect action step?
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